Keeping an Eye on Energy Policy in Lansing
Things are heating up in Lansing, and it’s not just because summer is in full swing.
Lawmakers have introduced or are getting ready to introduce a number of new bills—all at different stages in the legislative process—that could have a significant impact on the energy landscape in Michigan and our efforts to secure a cleaner energy future.
Not all of these issues will gain the support they need in the legislature to make it through the legislative process, but some could advance to a point where AMP members may need to weigh in with lawmakers to ensure they pursue the best policies to most effectively and efficiently meet our clean energy needs. Either way, it’s important to understand what lawmakers are thinking about when it comes to energy policy in our state.
What We Look for in Energy Policy
AMP believes that smart, responsible energy policy out of Lansing should ensure fairness, reliability, and affordability for all Michigan homes, businesses, and communities. That means:
- Everyone who relies on the grid should help pay for it—regardless of where they get their power—and all Michiganders should have access to new technologies and energy sources that help us achieve a cleaner energy future.
- Michigan should maintain a diverse supply of clean energy resources—from renewables like universal wind and solar to natural gas and nuclear power—and invest in infrastructure upgrades and improvements to help deliver a study, uninterrupted supply of electricity.
- Energy policy should preserve a flexible, diverse, and cost-effective mix of energy resources while investing in energy efficiency and emerging technologies to help keep costs affordable and stable for Michigan homes, businesses, and industries.
How Current Legislation Stacks Up
Below are some highlights of the issues and current legislation in Lansing AMP is keeping an eye on—and how they compare to AMP’s overall goals for energy policy:
- Developing renewable natural gas (SB 0138): This legislation would help advance efforts by local energy developers to develop Michigan’s renewable natural gas capabilities. Renewable natural gas offers tremendous potential to expand our clean energy resources. Also known as bio-green gas, it is essentially produced by capturing methane gas emissions from biological waste at sites like landfills or farms. Renewable natural gas will be a critical tool in helping Michigan achieve its carbon reduction and net zero goals while promoting reliability and affordability for Michigan homes and businesses.
- Tackling the last mile of NG infrastructure (HB 4420): Introduced earlier this spring, this bill would help build out Michigan’s natural gas infrastructure in underserved and hard-to-reach communities. Low-emissions natural gas is a critical piece of Michigan’s clean energy puzzle because it will help maintain reliability and affordability as we continue to increase production and use of renewable energy.
- Subsidizing rooftop solar (HB 4236): This bill would benefit private, out-of-state rooftop solar developers at the expense of the average Michigan energy consumer. AMP supports expanding solar energy across the state, but this is not most efficient or cost-effective way to do that. In fact, focusing too much on rooftop solar at the expense of more economical solutions will only slow solar expansion statewide by focusing on a smaller scale solution rather than looking to the community-level. That threatens both affordability and fairness for Michigan energy consumers.
- Deregulating private, “community” solar (HB 4715/4716): These bills would allow private solar energy companies to build subscription-based solar developments in Michigan and sell their power directly to consumers. Just as with the rooftop solar legislation, these proposals ultimately do not advance Michigan’s larger renewable energy goals in the most cost-effective way for consumers. They could ultimately increase costs for many Michiganders while undermining investments in strengthening and improving our energy grid.
AMP is keeping a close eye on changes to our state’s energy policy that could threaten reliability, affordability, or fairness for anyone. That’s why, in addition to the bills above, we’re also watching other proposals still taking shape in the legislature, including ones that relate to electric vehicle charging station construction and infrastructure (HB 4801/4802/4803/4804) natural gas “bans” at the municipal level (HB 4575/SB 0138), and other issues.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted as these issues develop and let you know if and when it is time to make your voice heard on any of them.
In the meantime, tell us why you think it’s important for energy policy to protect reliability, affordability, and fairness by joining the conversation on Facebook.